Supplies ready at the lake for a summer swim camp

A camp that inspires hope

Baker Tilly Wishes supports children's bereavement camp

A camp that inspires hope

One in seven Americans lose a parent or sibling by the age of 20. For Partner Paul Becht, losing his older sister at a young age took a heavy toll. When Paul met Paul Rubin, executive director of Camp Good Mourning, he learned about a unique method of providing space for children to grieve.

Baker Tilly Wishes is one of the many opportunities at our firm to give back to our communities. Each year, 15 causes, nominated by our team members, are selected to receive a $10,000 grant from the Baker Tilly Foundation. As one of our 15 winners in 2022, Paul chose Camp Good Mourning, Long Island's only not-for-profit organization that provides free, overnight, weekend bereavement camp programs for children, ages 7-17, who are coping with the loss of a parent, guardian or sibling.

“This camp makes such a difference in the kids’ lives,” Paul said. “In times of loss, kids need a supportive and engaging place to go to while surrounded by others who've gone through a similar experience, and this camp does just that.”

Paul’s first involvement with Camp Good Mourning was setting up a fundraiser, and when the pandemic hit, he took up an opportunity to become a counselor, or “Big Buddy.”

Due to precautions around the pandemic, Paul’s first two camps were held virtually, in September 2020 and again in June 2021. He has since participated in two in-person camps, one in November 2021 and recently in the first week of June 2022.

Learning and letting loose

During the camp, which is held at Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck on Long Island, children are placed in small groups and are encouraged to share their experiences with loss, if they choose. They also learn about healthy coping mechanisms and learn how to stay connected with friends made at camp.

“It is really important that the kids know they aren’t alone in going through the loss of someone close to them,” Paul said.

Weekends include all the fun and games you would expect at any summer camp. With an obstacle course, a petting zoo, bonfires at night, and lots of free time, the kids have endless opportunities to let loose. During free time, Paul teaches campers how to fish.

“These activities teach the kids to develop skills in team-building, communication, and empathy,” said Paul. “These same qualities are an important part of grieving.”

The $10,000 Baker Tilly Wishes grant will help Camp Good Mourning expand so that more kids can have a chance to attend this free program, and fund more activities for campers to take part in.